Art of the big bet at the poker tables



You’re in a $2-$5 no-limit hold’em game in late position with pocket kings. Everyone folds to you. Big hand, no players, what next? Make a very big bet!

Why do that? Good question; there are several reasons. First, you may get a call and you’ll have the best of it. Second, when you get called you’ll win the hand a high percentage of the time (as often as 82 percent). And, third, when you show down that winning hand your large bet will become more respected when you have an average hand or a drawing hand.

Another advantage for the large bet is position. When you’re out of position in a hand a large bet usually indicates strength, not to mention a large bet out of position may win the pot now.

Here are some examples that have served me well. I’m first to act after the blinds with pocket aces. I bet $100 into a $7 pot. I get called from a player with A-K. He commented after the hand, which I won, “Why would you bet $100 into a $7 pot?” I always try to keep them guessing; big bets will do that.

With two limpers in a hand, I bet $100 into a $17 pot preflop. I have 5-9 and get one call. After the flop the player checks, I again bet only this time I bet $225 into a $217 pot. Player folds his jacks; I then show my 5-9. No need to tell you what happened next; you’ve all seen it.

With so many decisions a player must make in a cash game, the big bet is one more tool of deception that makes up for the big hands you don’t get action on. To use big bets you must know your players and how they react to a big bet. One last thing: If you’re a tight player, the big bet will work much better and more often for your game. Try it, you’ll like it.

— Antonio Pinzari is theformer host of Poker Wars andhas been playing professionally since the ’70s. He’s the creator of Wild Tallahassee Poker, which you can learn more about at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine